October 26th 1939 was the day the first constitution of the World Federation of Methodist Women was signed in Pasadena, California. Since that time this global movement of Methodist women has grown and now includes women of United and Uniting Churches with a Methodist Heritage, hence its longer name.
Each year, World Federation Day is celebrated on or close to the last Saturday of October. Women gather for worship, study, sharing and prayer, often using a theme connected with one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, many will have used material produced by the women of Europe: Continental Area concerned with both SDG 1 End Poverty, and SDG 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies.
This study includes information about ‘Mediterranean Hope’, part of the Protestant churches’ response to migrants arriving in Sicily and Lampedusa, from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The resource material also describes the life of 10-12 million Roma people in Eastern Europe: ‘Blinding poverty, racial hatred, official policy, lack of education, and limited access to health care are only part of a long list of agonies faced by Romani men, women, and children.’ Hope comes in expressions of support for Roma women and girls. For instance, ‘the United Methodist Church has established an advisory service for Roma girls in Ohrid (Macedonia). After a trial phase and an evaluation period, this service will continue to provide valuable help and advice on the girls’ path to womanhood.’ This Federation study resource informs our prayers for these and many other efforts to address poverty and discrimination.
On the 26th day of each month throughout the year, women are making use of the Federation Prayer, creating a wave of prayer across the world.
The World Federation Prayer
Creator God, rooted in your loving care, nurtured through your Son Jesus, challenged by your Holy Spirit, we are in the world to bring peace with justice, reconciliation in love, and hope for all people. May our lives extend as the branches of our Tree of Life, bearing fruit of Unity and Love. We offer praise and thanksgiving through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. For more information about the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, see our website www.wfmucw.org